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AARP offers free classes on automotive technology

Fall rings in new model year vehicles. While some models are complete redesigns, others just sport refreshed grills and taillights. The 2020 models are showcasing autonomous driving safety technology sure to confuse the most ardent enthusiast.

“The names and terminology are not synonymous between brands,” said Sarah Lee Marks, AARP Driver Safety and SMART DriverTEK instructor. “Add to this confusion are the vast differences in how a specific feature works individually or in tandem with other safety components, multiplied by the number of vehicles a car shopper is likely to consider. It is a recipe for disaster.”

AARP has developed the free, 90-minute SMART DriverTEK class to help car buyers understand the language and process of the most popular safety features: blind-spot warning, lane departure warning versus lane departure keeping/assist, forward emergency alert versus emergency mitigation braking available in the front, rear or both ends of the vehicle. Pedestrian detection and advanced adaptive cruise control operate through radar and sonar technology mounted in the front of the grill but may not include audible parking alerts.

“My biggest pet peeve is the volume adaptability in the audible alerts,” Marks said. “Many people are wearing hearing assistance devices that reduce background road noise in vehicles. The alert may not hit the tone or pitch to be useful, and many car manufacturers do not provide driver capable volume control for these alerts.”

There are many tips and tricks to car shopping or simply understanding a recently purchased car. To learn what you need to know about these features and options, AARP SMART DriverTEK instructors, Marks and volunteer instructor Charles Barry, have partnered with local dealerships and community centers around the city to host these free classes.

Recently Chapman Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram Las Vegas welcomed more than 25 attendees. The enthusiastic response has encouraged general sales manager Scott Stephens to continue hosting the SMART DriverTEK class once a month going forward through 2020.

You can register online at www.AARP.org/findaworkshop or call 855-380-2136 to guarantee a seat at the class of your choice. Space is limited but walk-ins are welcome. Do not call the host locations.

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